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Author Topic: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?  (Read 6173 times)

g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 10:45:04 am »

....i have a couple female vocalist that have amazing range, they can distort some lower end dynamic and condenser mics (SM58, EV N/D267 and EV PL84) with no problem with out the preamp on the console clipping...........  Their compressors are set at ratio of 3.5 and a threshold of about -10, I also give them a little make up gain from the compressor for their soft moments to keep preamp gain low to keep from clipping it.  these setting work well for us, keeps good dynamics and also keeps things under control.

Mike.....

Something is a bit off in your statements here.  You say that these gals are "distorting the mics" , that the pre is "not clipping" and then go on to imply that compressing the signal solves the problem.  If it was actually the mics distorting as you say, then nothing further down the chain (compression or anything else) would remove the distortion.

So I submit to you that it is not the mics that are distorting, but something further down the chain.  By applying compression and then using make up gain you are (as you stated) able to run the channel pre a bit cooler.  So it would appear that although you first say that the pre was not "clipping" there is a good chance that there was some distortion there. 

Another point at which you may have been overloading something would be if you had them routed through a group and you were tickling the summing amp a little hard.

Let the mics off the hook and look at these other points in your signal path.
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Mike Harper

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 12:55:20 pm »

Mike.....

Something is a bit off in your statements here.  You say that these gals are "distorting the mics" , that the pre is "not clipping" and then go on to imply that compressing the signal solves the problem.  If it was actually the mics distorting as you say, then nothing further down the chain (compression or anything else) would remove the distortion.

So I submit to you that it is not the mics that are distorting, but something further down the chain.  By applying compression and then using make up gain you are (as you stated) able to run the channel pre a bit cooler.  So it would appear that although you first say that the pre was not "clipping" there is a good chance that there was some distortion there. 

Another point at which you may have been overloading something would be if you had them routed through a group and you were tickling the summing amp a little hard.

Let the mics off the hook and look at these other points in your signal path.

Sorry for the confusion.  They would distort the mics before we added the compressors to the system, we replaced the EV N/D267 mics, with EV N/D767s and RE510s still with no compression at the time and that remedied the distortion.  Later on we added the compression.  hope that makes more sense.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2011, 01:14:17 pm »

Mike.....

Something is a bit off in your statements here.  You say that these gals are "distorting the mics" , that the pre is "not clipping" and then go on to imply that compressing the signal solves the problem.  If it was actually the mics distorting as you say, then nothing further down the chain (compression or anything else) would remove the distortion.

So I submit to you that it is not the mics that are distorting, but something further down the chain.  By applying compression and then using make up gain you are (as you stated) able to run the channel pre a bit cooler.  So it would appear that although you first say that the pre was not "clipping" there is a good chance that there was some distortion there. 

Another point at which you may have been overloading something would be if you had them routed through a group and you were tickling the summing amp a little hard.

Let the mics off the hook and look at these other points in your signal path.

Sorry for the confusion.  They would distort the mics before we added the compressors to the system, we replaced the EV N/D267 mics, with EV N/D767s and RE510s still with no compression at the time and that remedied the distortion.  Later on we added the compression.  hope that makes more sense.

Still unclear about what all you've done with mics, compressors and when, but I seriously doubt you can overload those mics.  My money will stay on the change of input gain as the solution whether it was before or after compressors were added.  There are just too many variables and no accurate record of the input levels or how they were achieved.

Glad you got it fixed, though.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 01:34:44 pm by dick rees »
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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2011, 01:18:49 pm »

Especially in church settings where the dynamics in a song can go from soft to powerful in short phrasing, I find that relying on the compressors simply takes away from the dynamics of the performance.

I'm with you I prefer the dynamics, gives the music/vocals more life.  We run compression on each vocal channel and on a couple acoustic guitar channels.  I like to use the compression to help smooth things out a little and still keep most of the dynamics.  mot of my vocal channels have compression ratios set at about 2.5 and thresholds at -6db.  However i have a couple female vocalist that have amazing range, they can distort some lower end dynamic and condenser mics (SM58, EV N/D267 and EV PL84) with no problem with out the preamp on the console clipping, but they also go so soft at times that you can't even hear them.  We've worked with them on mic handling and things but also run compression on them.  Their compressors are set at ratio of 3.5 and a threshold of about -10, I also give them a little make up gain from the compressor for their soft moments to keep preamp gain low to keep from clipping it.  these setting work well for us, keeps good dynamics and also keeps things under control. 

We are running an A&H GL3800 with DBX 1046 compressors.

Another point here, distorting a real sm58 ain't gonna happen off a vocal, had 58s in many high spl situations (2" off beater on kick, picello snare, 100w marshall valve amp cranked to 11) no distortion. Sorry but I cannot believe that the 58 caused problems here.

On the note of compressors, too much compression causes loss of dynamics, my only advice is bring up the threshold and lower the ratio to get more dynamics but that may well make the compressor null and void so your call.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 02:47:52 pm »

On the note of compressors, too much compression causes loss of dynamics, my only advice is bring up the threshold and lower the ratio to get more dynamics but that may well make the compressor null and void so your call.

ANY compression causes loss of dynamics. That is what compression is. The question is whether that loss of dynamics improves the sound, or detracts from it.

Mac
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 05:28:31 pm »

Considering that it is the function of a compressor to reduce the dynamic range of a signal, I don't know why you should be surprised.


It's not surprising, it just makes me not want to use much if any compression over a basic limiter function.


So don't use it.  Nobody's putting a gun to your head to make you use it.


Sweet, awesome to know inquiries in fundamental techniques of sound mixing and technology are met with such idiotic and rude responses. Bodes well for your professional reputation man, I'll be sure to disregard anything further from you....

You're posting in the big kids sand box.  While most of us are willing to help out, realize that you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
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Justin Bartlett

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 03:36:49 pm »

I've been mixing live sound and DJ environments for nearly 10 years now, running everything from simple small channel mixers to larger and more complex digital systems. One thing that has personally always been a plague on me is compressors.

I understand how and why they work (for the most part), but it just seems that every time I go to assign either a single channel compressor, or the overall compressor, I start loosing what I feel is the solid sound and dynamics in the mix. Especially in church settings where the dynamics in a song can go from soft to powerful in short phrasing, I find that relying on the compressors simply takes away from the dynamics of the performance.

Yes it makes it easier to control the peaks especially in the mix, but I usually find myself relying on the individual channel limiters (this being on the i-Live T112) to compress the peaks but not the full compressors to allow a dynamic range, either through the musicians themselves or through live mixing.

I guess my main question is, am I mixing incorrectly by taking this approach? Should I be relying on the full compressor to give the sound an overall "CD recorded" sound like you'd get on most modern recorded music and keep it all the same level? Is my understanding of compression lacking so that I may be looking at this all the wrong way?

Do you understand that the limiter is no different from a compressor with a very high ratio setting?  If you want your compressors to be more like limiters, just raise the threshold and increase the ratio until they only engage on peaks.  That essentially gives you a more versatile limiter, and then you can use the de-esser instead of the limiter on your iLive if you want.  Or not; do what works best for your situation..

As others have said/implied - don't use a tool just because it's there.  Use it if it makes things sound better.  Don't use it if it doesn't.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2011, 07:30:40 am »

Quote
realize that you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
LOL. ;D
Er sorry, but I found that amusing.

Anyway, if vocalists are using good mic technique (ya...riiiiight), a compressor is usually not required.
However, most vocalists just stand on the mic all the time.
A bit of well sorted compression can help keep that vocal in the mix.
As stated before, try a lower ratio and adjust the threshold until you get the results you are looking for.
I must admit I have never used a limiter to keep vocals in the mix but if it works for you, stick with it.
Sound is not always about what is "right" but about what works.
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Re: Compressors - In's and Out's, When's and Why's?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2011, 07:30:40 am »


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